Why does my cell phone coverage fluctuate when I am not moving?

Why is my cell signal strength fluctuating?

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Here are 6 things to try to improve cellular signal:


Go outside or into a different room

Move outdoors or to a different room where your device isn’t impacted by the possible physical limitations within the building. Man-made structures around us often act as barriers. This includes materials such as:

  • Concrete
  • Masonry
  • Drywall
  • Insulation
  • Electrical wiring
  • Coated glass
  • Vinyl siding
  • Stucco

If you have a strong signal when you step outside but a weak signal as soon as you’re indoors, then the building’s materials are likely interfering with your coverage.


Removing the case

According to research, some phone cases can decrease cell signal strength by 90%. Depending on how a phone case is designed, it can fully or partially block your phone’s antenna.


Try Wi-Fi Calling

If you have good Wi-Fi coverage in your home and you have a VoLTE capable device; enabling Wi-Fi Calling can help when you are in an area where the cellular coverage is weaker by using the Wi-Fi to boost your connection to the cellular network.


Try 3G Coverage

If you are connected to LTE but the signal is running on the weaker side, switching from LTE to 3G can improve your coverage. LTE allows you to connect with faster data speeds but its coverage footprint is smaller than 3G.

  • On an iPhone go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Voice & Data > 3G
  • On an Android go to Settings > Connections > Mobile Networks > Network Modem > GSM/HSPA (auto connect)

Switching to 3G has slower data rates so you may find access to the internet is slower than on LTE. Also, Amber Alerts will not be able to notify your handset while you are connected to 3G.


Check for software updates

Outdated software on your device may be the cause of coverage issues. To ensure your phone is performing at its best, maintain a full battery along with the most recent software and firmware updates. Older phone models may not have the hardware to access faster, stronger networks, so an upgrade is also a possibility. It is best to be connected to Wi-Fi when checking for software updates to avoid depleting your data plan.

  • On an iPhone go to Settings > General > Software Update
  • On an Android go to Settings > Software Update > Download and Install


Cell Boosters

If you are located at the edge of a cellular signal's range, this is considered "fringe" coverage. This is the area where geographical landscape and other sources of interference will cause the signal to be low. A cell phone booster is a device that takes an exterior cellular signal, even one that is faint, and amplifies it to improve the connectivity inside your location. So even if you only minimal service outside of the house a booster can help improve service. 

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Updated on Thu, 20 Jun 2024 by Sean Otway

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